Fighters from Yemen's southern separatist movement sit in the back of a pick-up truck in the country's second city of Aden in January, during clashes with forces loyal to the Saudi-backed president. No matter how strong congressional opposition to the conflict becomes, the United States is unlikely to entirely cut off ties to the Saudi war effort because of shared goals of containing Iranian influence and combating the threat of ballistic missile launches into Saudi and Emirati territory from Houthi-held territory in Yemen.
This week, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have urged all parties in the Yemen conflict to agree to a cease-fire within the next 30 days. This marks the strongest coordinated public push so far by the top ranks of the U.S. government for an end to the Saudi-backed campaign by the Yemeni government to defeat the Houthi rebels. Mattis encouraged all sides to meet with U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths in November to hash out details of a cease-fire. Pompeo echoed Mattis, putting the onus on the Houthis to first cease strikes on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles while calling on the coalition to subsequently cease airstrikes against populated areas in Yemen. Despite the entreaties, preparations by both Houthi and coalition forces for yet another round in the battle for the strategic port city of...
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